Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Eat Pray Love" this Book

Sometimes a book, a movie, or a radio show can pass through your day without a thought, but others can change the way you think forever. That was Eat Pray Love, for me. I began reading this novel at the start of my travels, but did not finish it. It was not until 6 months later, which was half way through my journey and my falling in love with a life of wandering, did this book have such an impact on me.

"An autobiographical account of Liz Gilbert, a 30-something recent divorcée travelling the world, this narrative takes the reader to Italy, India, and Indonesia; through heartache, healing and happiness. Relatable to almost every woman, it is a heroic account of Liz’s journey to find the balance of faith and pleasure in everyday life, loving yourself before anyone else and taking something from everyone you meet."

This particular book was so relevant to me not only because of my travels, but because of the ability to relate to the inner thoughts that I did not know others had, as well as finding that balance in life. One of the hardest parts of travelling is to be happy when you are perpetually lonely or the outcast; finding your ground while up in the air, and staying true to your own beliefs.

After reading Eat Pray Love, I had the incredible urge to see Indonesia; Bali to be exact. I was ever so fortunate to make it there and share in the same experiences that Liz did. I will not spoil too much of the book or my trip to Bali, but stay tuned for that in another post.

In the mean time, pick up Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert if you’re looking for inspiration, support, or just a great read!

It’s Called a WORKING Holiday for a Reason - Part 2 : Canada

Since working is such a big part of living abroad, I have decided to go more in depth with places to search out jobs.  It can be very overwhelming to come to a new city in a new country and have the pressure of finding work right away.

Below I have listed some more great websites to check out.  Some are my own discoveries, but others are from what the lovely people at the YWCA have put together.  Go to the YWCA website for a more in depth look at finding work in Canada, tips on building a resume, and much, much more.  This month they are holding hiring fairs, interview prep, Job Club Café, and career exploration just to name a few.

* Fun Facts from the Backpack: Go into job agencies or temp agencies ready with your resume. They’ll be able to give you all the help you need.

Job Bank (Government)

Canadian Tourism(List of hotels and resorts)
Tree Planting (tree planting can be great for summer work, you can make a lot of money, and it’s outdoors!)

Vancouver is dubbed the Hollywood of Canada, so make your working holiday interesting by working on a set of a big time movie, or a unique Canadian show.

*Some of these resources are specific to Vancouver, but others are Canada-wide.  Search job agencies in any Canadian city that you are in, and you will be sure to find the means you need to start making some dough.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Minimum Wage=Minimum Holiday

One of the things I do love about Vancouver is the mass number of Aussies I meet here. It's always good to reminisce about hot weather, good beaches, Vegemite, and how good the pay rate was! 
When looking at a prospective country to participate in a WHP, pay rate doesn't usually rank at the top of the list of priorities, when in fact it's very important. Most young adults can't save enough to sustain themselves for 12 months living/travelling, so working is usually inevitable. Put together living costs including rent, food, transit, etc, and try to save to travel, you're going to be looking to make a good dollar. Even virgin backpackers get the idea fairly quickly where you can cut costs to save the most money, but when you're only making minimum wage to begin with, it can be quite a challenge. 

Australian Minimum Wage: $16.87
Canada (Vancouver) Minimum Wage: $8.00

It doesn't take a lot of calculations to see what a difference that is. My personal experience saw my wages around $20/h, a significant hike from the usual $10 I've made in Canada. 
Don't be fooled at rumors you've heard about living costs in Australia either, they are practically the same here. Talking to other Australians coming to Canada agree with these facts. Coming back to Canada, while an exciting new experience is a struggle. I often wonder how I'll be able to save at all. 
My advice for backpackers of any nationality coming over to Canada to travel, is to do your sightseeing first, especially if you've got the funds right away. Sticking around in the city is only going to drain your bank account and the hard earned money you've spent so much time trying to save, that really, you won't get back in Canada.
Stay tuned for information on ways to get out of the city, save on accommodation, and do more travelling for less!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's Called a WORKING Holiday for a Reason

Money doesn't grow on trees, and since I need a lot of it to keep travelling, I've sought out the best resources to find jobs until burying my $20 bill will work one day. Hey, advancements in genetic modification have come a long way, a girl can dream!
The internet has by far delivered me the best results, and where I've found 90% of my jobs. Especially if you haven't arrived to your destination yet, it's a good way to see what the market is like, or even secure a position before you get there.

Top Internet Sites for Australia
Gumtree- a division of Kijiji, Gumtree is a classifieds website like Craigslist organized by regions. Gumtree is used all over the world.
Harvest Trail- a government website indicating harvest work all over the country. Really good for backpackers looking to obtain their second year visa. But don't just rely on the wesbite, make sure to call for unlisted jobs.
The Job Shop (WA)- a great site dedicated to finding backpackers work in Western Australia. Sign up for free and they'll even do the work for you by sending you jobs that are fit for you.
Seek- A more professional website if you're looking for something in your field, but nonetheless, a great work site with many postings.

Top Internet Sites for Canada
Craigslist - The ultimate classifieds website. Hundreds of jobs listed each day. But don't get caught up in e-mailing resumes; get an address and show up in person!
Go2- a site specializing in tourism jobs; everything from a hotel housekeepers, to hotel manager, servers, and tour guides.
Extreme Jobs- a developing website posting jobs is several sectors.
The Backpacking Site- An informational website about the different fields of work ideal for a backpacker in Canada. Well worth the read!

Best Advice for Anywhere
Get out on the street with a hand full of resumes, look for those Help Wanted signs, and TALK to people! The best way to convince someone to hire you is to flash that beautiful smile and take advantage of your foreign accent. It does the trick every time!

These have just been a few suggestions, but hopefully it'll get you on the right path toward making money grow on trees, oh I mean, making the most out of your working holiday!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sustainable Travel


What is sustainable travel?
Something that I've learned over the course of my travels is that the cost of travelling is much more than your airline ticket and price of your hotel. There’s a more costly environmental impact than I think most travelers realize they are leaving behind. If you sit back and think of the last trip you did, ask yourself a few questions.
Did I fly to my destination?
What other mode of transportation did I take?
How much locally grown fare did I eat and did I support local economy and businesses?
Did I learn about the culture?
These are issues that need to be brought to the table as we enter foreign territory, and these are the questions I’ve been asking myself for a while.
Backpacking across Australia was a trip of a lifetime, but I think it was getting out of western culture and experiencing a lifestyle so unlike mine via Bali, Fiji and Barbados that has raised curiosity in my mind. I can choose to be a mindless backpacker looking for the next pub, the sunniest beach, or the best party hostel, or I can make my travel experiences more fulfilling and meaningful. Now this is not to say that I will never look for the best pub on the sunniest beach, but there a time for throwing your cares away, and a time for examining them. As a person who would like to make travel an integral part of her life and career, I’ve been hunting for ways to develop a sustainable and conscious way of travelling.
GAP adventures, the leading Canadian travel company for sustainable and adventurous travel, offers great trips involving voluntourism; a combination of touring and volunteering. Packages that can take you to Nepal, Kenya, Agentina, the Galapagos, saving wildlife, teaching children, or cleaning up a beach. Together with the help of Planeterra, a non profit organization, more people are choosing voluntours as a means of travelling.
To make your next trip a meaningful one, check out GAP adventures.

Coming Back

So what do you do when you come “back”?
I once read a fellow travel blogger's article on coming home, and no matter where you come back to, who you see, or what you do, it’s always different, but rather, you’re always different. Coming home was something I was always afraid of. What would my old friends think, would I end up in the same old routine? So instead of really going back, I opted for a different path. I came out to Vancouver, a place I’d never been, to continue my travels, yet still come home. But there’s something off, something’s not right. I feel different, and it’s not something I’m enjoying, sadly to report. While I was hoping that I could treat this move like the last year and a half of my life, it’s become more of a settling than a transition. I find myself looking for more than making a quick buck and journeying to the next destination. There were things I wanted to accomplish here that would take more than 12 weeks. I have to stay. But the cost of it seems not worth it, metaphorically and literally. Here are my dilemmas;
The cost of living is so high in Vancouver, and I’m working 2 jobs that only pay me $10/h, half of what I was used to in Australia, where the living costs were the same. How can I live, let alone save in this kind of economy?
I need to save to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself, but I don’t want to take 2 years to afford one thing. Example- going back to school, getting my PADI, taking trips around BC, travelling, doing extra curricular activities.
I don’t want to live the same life I did in Toronto- go to work, go out, make no money and spend it all.
As far as going back to school or attaining a more stable, meaningful job, I have to figure WHAT I want to do so that my time won’t be wasted.
Things in Vancouver are not going as planned and feel like a struggle. Part of my wants to just leave like I usually do, to another city, another country, anywhere. Where do I draw the line at actually proving that I can commit to something to better my future, and totally sacrificing my happiness and quality of living?
It thought that blogging might make me feel better, but the questions are now just written so I can read then, not answer them.